Ordway Blog: Stay connected here with what is happening at Ordway and take a look at what is going on behind the scenes.
Fri, Oct 5, 2012 1:47 PM by Emily Kudrle
As our Billy Elliot Multi-Media Essay Contest comes to a close, we would like to share some of the entries we recieved from people telling us why dance makes them shine!
First we have a collage from Hannah, age 10
Next is an essay from Elise, age 14
Why Dance Makes me Shine!
Billy Elliot Essay Contest
Dancing makes me feel alive. When I dance I feel like a whole person. Dancing is my safe home where I always feel comfortable and welcome. Dance is not just an after-school activity for me. It is a passion.
Although I love dance now I did not always think of dance as something to do forever. I started at age three. I loved the bright lights and costumes, the excitement and the nervousness. When I performed I loved telling the audience a story. It was not until I was about ten that I realized how much I appreciated dancing. Suddenly dance was no longer just a set of fun steps to a beat. It became a way to release emotions I could not put into words. Even though I often struggled to learn new steps and was not the best dancer in my class, dancing made me feel physically challenged and exhilarated.
Today I look at dance as a way of life. I want to be that sugar plum fairy that I was inspired by when I saw my first ballet. Dancing makes me shine as I forget my prejudices, concerns, and worries. When I dance I do something that totally envelopes me. The stage is my second home. The dance studio is where I live and breathe. No matter how I’m feeling on the inside, I can let those thoughts go and feel nothing.
Dancing brings me to a place like no other. I especially relate to the song from Billy Elliot called “Grandma’s Song” in which Billy’s grandmother speaks of the magic of dancing.
We’d go dancing…. From a moment my heart was aglow...
We were free from an hour or three from the people we had to be.
That’s how I feel about dancing. I can’t imagine ever giving up dance. It’s something that I go to during rough times. Dance is my passion and it makes me shine.
Finally, here is a picture/story from Stella, age 9
Stay tuned for more contest entries and remember to keep shining!
Wed, Oct 3, 2012 12:20 PM by Emily Kudrle
Ever wonder what it takes to bring a broadway show like Billy Elliot to Minnesota? Hear from Production Manager Kimberly Fisk about all the ins and outs of bringing this show to life city to city!
Fri, Sep 28, 2012 11:55 AM by Emily Kudrle
Billy Elliot the musical is set in a tumultuous time in British history. Set in a small English town, the story follows Billy as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class, discovering a surprising talent for dance that inspires his family and his whole community, and changes his life forever.
During this time the coal miner’s strike of 1984/1985 was in full force and spurred one of the county’s most enduring conflicts in recent history. In 1984, the mineworkers’ union, with 250,000 members, was among the most powerful unions in Britain. The battle began in March of that year when, after an economic recession exposed the industry, the government announced pit closures.
Billy Elliot is set in a town where coal mining had been the life blood of the economy, and a certain way of life for hundreds of years. To the people of this town, this strike seemed less like an industrial fracas and more akin to a civil war. As the strike spread and the demands of the National Union of Mineworkers became more defiant, the government reacted with intransigence and intimidation. Police and pickets played out almost daily confrontations and by March 1985, when the strike was finally defeated, 11,291 people had been arrested.
All for one and one for all”
In a time of so much turmoil and strife, Billy teaches us that we are all capable of making the lives we want for ourselves. Whether it be ballet dancing or some other form of self-expression, we are in control of living a life full of joy and happiness. He also teaches us that whatever our circumstance, there is always the opportunity to create a better life, no matter what comes in our way. Keep on dancing!
Wed, Sep 26, 2012 12:23 PM by Emily Kudrle
Hear from director Stephen Daldry and composer Elton John as they discuss the process of bring Billy Elliot from the small screen to the big stage!
Wed, Sep 19, 2012 2:31 PM by Emily Kudrle
This week's Wednesday Webisodes gives us a look into the heart and soul of Billy Elliot and we get to hear what makes the show so special to its cast and crew!
Fri, Sep 14, 2012 1:24 PM by Emily Kudrle
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein were an influential, innovative, and successful musical theatre writing team of the early 20th century. With such great shows like Oklahoma!, Carousel, The King and I, South Pacific, and The Sound of Music, their music and lyrics have stood the test of time.
Before teaming up, both Rodgers and Hammerstein had enjoyed plenty of success on their own. Richard Rodgers started his career fresh out of Columbia University. Along with fellow classmate Lorenz Hart, he wrote many unforgettable hit songs including, “My Funny Valentine,” “Blue Moon,” “Manhattan” and hundreds of others.
Oscar Hammerstein also had a collaborating partner before joining forces with Rodgers. With the help composer Jerome Kern, Hammerstein wrote many successful musicals including “Show Boat,” which is considered to be one of the masterpieces of American musical theatre.
Drawn together by a desire to create a musical based on Lynn Riggs' stage play, “Green Grow the Lilacs,” Rodgers and Hammerstein began their first collaboration, Oklahoma! in 1943. While it was not the first musical of its kind to tell a story of emotional depth and psychological complexity, Oklahoma! was instrumental in introducing a number of new storytelling elements and techniques. The use of song and dance to convey plot and character rather than act as a diversion from the story created a new way for musicals to integrate every song into the plotline of the story, while still maintaining the musicality of the show.
Other notable works of Rodgers and Hammerstein include: Carousel, The King and I, South Pacific, Cinderella, and their last work together, The Sound of Music.
Rodgers and Hammerstein have left their legacy in the world of musical theatre. Because of the success of their shows, many musicals that followed contained similar elements of mature themes and storytelling that included all aspects of dance, song, and drama to create an enriched theatre experience. Because of all this, the words and music of Rodgers and Hammerstein will continue to delight audiences for years to come.
Wed, Sep 5, 2012 2:16 PM by Luke Anderson
Submit an essay telling us why you have a passion for dance and why it makes you SHINE from the inside out! Submit your entry in the creative format that expresses your passion for dance best; such as song, video, drawing/painting, photo collage, a written essay, or whatever else you can imagine.
One Grand Prize Winner will receive a Family Four Pack of tickets to see Billy Elliot The Musical on opening night Oct 9, meet the company, and enjoy an exclusive backstage tour.
Two Runners-Up will receive a Family Four Pack of tickets to see the show on opening night Oct 9. Essay must be submitted by 5pm Fri, Sept 28.
When submitting your essay please include your NAME, AGE, ADDRESS, PHONE, and ESSAY FORMAT.
Wed, Aug 8, 2012 2:47 PM by Luke Anderson
Critics are buzzing about Chicago at the Ordway! Below are several local reviews from Tuesday night’s opening performance.
Star Tribune, "'Chicago' brings back razzle-dazzle," By Rohan Preston
BroadwayWorld.com, "It's All Show Business, CHICAGO Razzle-Dazzles Minneapolis," By Kristin Frosch
TCJewfolk.com, "'Chicago at Ordway Has It All...But They're Not My Aunts From Chicago," By Phil Goldman
HowWasTheShow.com, "Chicago at the Ordway," By John Olive
Twin Cities Daily Planet, "At the Ordway, 'Chicago' still has fishnet-clad legs," By Dana Hanson
Lavender Magazine, "Chicago really is All That Jazz," By Kathleen Watson
Tru Magazine, "Review of 'Chicago'," By Stephanie Allensworth
Chicago is at the Ordway through this Sunday, August 12 only. For ticket information, click here.
Wed, Jul 25, 2012 1:17 PM by Hannah Arkelin
The legendary Bob Fosse outdid himself when he created CHICAGO. With numbers like “All that Jazz” and “We Both Reached for the Gun”, the Broadway sensation is a dancer’s dream!
Now it’s your turn.
From now until July 31st, send us videos of your Fosse dance moves to a CHICAGO number of your choice. If you Razzle Dazzle us, you could win two free tickets to opening night! Dance with friends or send us a solo. Just don’t forget your jazz hands!
Upload your videos to the Ordway’s Facebook Wall by Aug 1st at 5pm! Videos should be no longer than 3 minutes in length and the choreography must be to a song from CHICAGO. Winners will be chosen and notified one week prior to opening night.
Some of our staff here at the Ordway wanted to show off their own Fosse moves! Enjoy the video below and see if you can top it! Don't forget those jazz hands!
Come on, Babe! Show us what you got!
Thu, Jul 19, 2012 11:27 AM by Hannah Arkelin
CHICAGO is the number one longest running American musical in Broadway history and it all started “with a bang.”
CHICAGO: A Musical Vaudeville opened on June 3rd, 1975 and ran for 936 performances receiving mixed reviews. Directed and choreographed by the legendary Bob Fosse, it was ahead of its time.
Fosse and his wife, Gwen Verdon, the 1975 Roxie Hart, had been trying for years to acquire the rights to create a musical version of the play CHICAGO written by former Chicago Tribune columnist Maurine Dallas Watkins. The talented writer had witnessed and covered the murder trials of two women in 1924- Belva Gaertner and Beulah Annan. Accused of killing their lovers under the influence of jazz and the prohibited drink, the lovely ladies became Watkins’ Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart.
As the riveting Velma Kelly would later do in CHICAGO, Gaertner pleaded not guilty to the murder of her lover and married a car salesman named Walter Law. She claimed to have no memory of the evening’s deadly events where she had been found on the floor of her apartment- soaked in blood. Gaertner admitted she owned the gun that had been used to kill her husband, but all she had to say was, “I don’t know, I was drunk.”
In the words of Velma Kelly, “It wasn’t until later, when I was washing the blood off my hands that I even knew they were dead.”
Like the story of Chicago goes, Annan was arrested a few weeks later for killing her lover, Harry Kalstedt. Her story, much like Roxie’s, continually evolved over the weeks leading up to her trial. She even announced she was pregnant the day after another female inmate was given a life sentence for murdering her own lover. The baby became her lifeline and her reason for shooting Kalstedt. She claimed that when she revealed her pregnancy to him there was a dramatic struggle and “they both reached for the gun.”
“So I closed my eyes and I shot…to save my husband’s unborn child!”-Roxie Hart, CHICAGO
Needless to say, Annan never did give birth to the helpless baby she claimed to be bearing.
Maurine Dallas Watkins gave herself a part in her play-Mary Sunshine of the Chicago Tribune. She described the two ladies as “jazz babies” and two of the most “stylish” and “prettiest” women on Murderesses’ Row. Much like Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart, Gaertner and Annan became infamous and acquired celebrity status. They were also, incidentally, acquitted by their juries who seemed to sympathize with their predicaments. The juries were also all male.
Beulah Annan died in 1928 after suffering from a mental breakdown. However, Belva Gaertner was able to attend the opening of Watkins’ incredible play in 1927 and recognized herself on stage! Gaertner died at 80 of old age in California in 1965. Watkins wrote more plays after Chicago, but she will always be best known and adored for her adaptation of the 1924 trials and the infamous mistresses of Murderesses’ Row.
This blog is a group effort by Ordway staff, actors, artists, musicians, dancers and all those involved in the creative process of performances, programs and events at the Ordway to provide a behind the scenes look at what happens onstage, backstage and in support of the work presented at the Ordway. We also hope to discuss pertinent topics in our industry.
The purpose of this blog is to engage with you in the blogosphere. We wish to let you know that our posts do not go through any official editorial process for spelling, grammar or fact checking, therefore errors may occur – please be kind! Every blog post is open for public comment, questions or suggestions and the Ordway chooses not to pre-screen these responses. That being said, we do reserve the right to remove any offensive, illegal, or inappropriate content at the Ordway's sole discretion.
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